Sam Bennett (BORA – hansgrohe) sprinted to victory on stage 3 of the Vuelta a España in Alicante today which marked his tenth WorldTour stage win this season as Bennett’s compatriot Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) hung on to the leader’s red jersey.
Yesterday’s stage was supposed to be a stage for the fast men in the peloton but it turned into a battle of the GC contenders in the race. Stage 3 however was a considerably flatter stage. The stage started in Ibi. Ciudad del Juguete and after 188 kilometres and two third category climbs and one intermediate sprint the race had its big showdown in Alicante, where a bunch sprint was expected.
Right after the flag was dropped three riders – Ángel Madrazo (Burgos-BH), Óscar Cabedo (Burgos-BH), Héctor Sáez (Euskadi-Murias) – attacked and went up the road. The trio immediately opened a gap of more than three minutes, while Team Sunweb controlled the gap behind for race leader Roche.
The peloton took it easy and gave the escapees a couple of minutes advantage for most of the stage. Approaching the finale, the sprinters’ teams took control of the main bunch, and with the gap dropping steadily before it was all back together with around 30 km remaining.
The race headed into the finale, and the BORA – hansgrohe train, and in particular Jempy Drucker and Shane Archbold helped bring Bennett into a great position. Bennett finished the great teamwork off to take the victory ahead of Edward Theuns Trek – Segafredo) and Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott). It was Bennett’s 10th WorldTour stage win so far this season.
Sam Bennett – “I always feel the pressure of expectation and always want that win on a sprint stage. The boys were really amazing today, they made the win possible and I’m really grateful. The lead out was messy with Shane being pushed off my wheel by Trek and Jempy also having to fight hard but both those guys did a super job! Really happy to take my 4th Grand Tour stage victory and hopefully my first of many at the Vuelta. Red Jersey and a stage win: Huge day for Irish cycling and one we can all cherish.”